- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2002

Crews have finished fumigating the anthrax-tainted Brentwood Road mail-distribution center ahead of schedule and will probably complete the scrubbing phase today.
"We are extremely pleased with the results of this process," Thomas G. Day, vice president of engineering for the U.S. Postal Service, said yesterday.
However, the roughly 1,600 employees at the Joseph Curseen Jr. and Thomas Morris Jr. Processing and Distribution Center will not return to work until late April.
The center was closed Oct. 21, 2001, after processing anthrax-laced letters sent to the Hart Senate Office Building.
It was renamed after Mr. Curseen and Mr. Morris, employees at the center who died from anthrax infections.
The smaller Hart offices were decontaminated faster than the sprawling, 17.3-million-square-foot distribution center.
The crews began pumping a ton of chlorine dioxide into the center Saturday about 3:15 p.m. and were finished by about 7 p.m., several hours ahead of schedule.
Environmental Protection Agency inspectors found some small leaks on the roof but quickly closed them.
The scrubbing process, which transforms the chlorine dioxide into a harmless saltwater solution, began yesterday morning and is expected to be completed within 24 hours.
The next step is to dehumidify the center before crews wearing protective clothing begin collecting 8,000 spore strips that will be tested to determine whether anthrax remains.
If the decontamination is successful, new carpeting will be installed and much of the interior will be repainted before postal employees return to the big brick building in the 900 block of Brentwood Road NE.
The fumigation machinery will be moved to Trenton, N.J., where anthrax letters are also believed to have traveled through the post office there.
The cost for cleaning the facilities is estimated at more than $100 million.
Meanwhile, federal agents continue to hunt for the person who loaded the deadly anthrax into letters and mailed them to Democratic Sens. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont.
Just last week, federal agents excavated in a forest eight miles from Frederick, Md.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that the anthrax came from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, outside Frederick.


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